Trump administration fudges the numbers in Clean Water Rule assessment

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers conducted an analysis of the Clean Water Rule in 2015, they found the rule’s benefits to the public outweighed the costs of implementing the water protections. But now the agencies under President Trump, who wants to repeal the rule, have reversed their previous findings, saying the rule’s quantified benefits are 85 percent to 90 percent lower than they were two years ago. The discrepancy? The recent analysis fails to quantify the value of wetlands, which the previous assessment put between $306 million and $501 million annually. While the Trump document acknowledges that wetlands provide important functions (flood control and filtering pollution among them), by not giving those services a monetary value, it greatly—and conveniently for Trump and his friends in polluting industries—undercuts the Clean Water Rule’s economic advantages. 

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